Can you imagine how law firms functioned before the latter part of the 20th Century, with no document automation? Picture drafting each document from scratch, with a secretary typing from your hand-written draft on an electric typewriter, correcting errors with a typewriter correction ribbon. Your draft might contain sections of language cut from copies of other documents, marked up with pen or pencil to fit the current context and literally pasted onto your draft.
Automation in law offices became common in the 1970s when memory typewriters and computers made it possible for lawyers to begin working with form documents. Attorneys could modify prior work by changing the factual information in a document, deleting unneeded clauses, adding new language, and saving the modified work as a new document.
The danger of losing important clauses when the new document was subsequently used as a form for another document gave rise to the creation of base forms with numerous possible options that could be deleted or included as appropriate, and forms with blanks to fill in, with the tab key set to move from blank to blank. Technology has advanced, and significantly more sophisticated and powerful tools are available to attorneys today.
Your Legal Document Automation Options
Whether you are a solo practitioner or a partner or associate in a large firm, you have a number of document assembly options available to utilize in your practice, including:
- Word processor features:Microsoft Word provides several document automation tools, although there may be a learning curve involved. You can create templates, use the Find and Replace feature, customize AutoCorrect, and use Mail Merge and Quick Parts to assist you with automated document production.
- Text expanders:These are tools that have the advantage of working outside of Word and in various online applications, such as filling out web forms that perform various functions, such as auto-correcting spelling errors.
- Microsoft Word Plug-ins:Plug-ins are installed as toolbars in Microsoft Word. Their purpose is to reduce the learning curve and make it easier for the user to create templates.
- Practice management software document assembly tools:Most practice management software allows for document assembly using data from the client’s digital file. Many larger firms with dedicated IT staff use these tools.
- Third party document assembly tools:Rocket Docket legal document assembly is powered by HotDocs and integrated with Microsoft Outlook. It provides automated New York legal forms for business, real estate transactions, criminal, CPLR, divorce, family court, evictions, and foreclosures, which are integrated for correspondence and time and billing.
No matter the size of your law office, contact Rocket Docket for the best in automated New York legal forms. Our libraries include all the CPLR forms, notices, motions, releases, stipulations, subpoenas, and everything you need to start and finish your work in each practice area.
Rocket Docket can eliminate finding and replacing and repetitive typing, reduce errors, and save time. With minimal practice, you can greatly increase your daily production with the legal document automation provided by Rocket Docket